THE INTERNET SEEMS TO BE everywhere these days. On Apr. 2, Fourth Communication Network Inc., an Internet service provider in San Jose, Calif., introduced its latest access service, called @Hotel. Designed for the $4 billion lodging industry, @Hotel will offer guests access to the World Wide Web via in-room Pentium PCs or through the room's TV. The @Hotel server in the hotel's basement will use "T1" phone lines, which pass data at 1.5 megabits per second--up to 52 times faster than ordinary PC modems.
Although each hotel will have a different pricing plan, Fourth Communication Network CEO Scott W. Lewis says that, typically, guests will be charged $5 per day and 20 cents per minute of connect charges. What's more, @Hotel will charge connect fees only when the hotel's server has to retrieve information--a Web page that isn't already stored on the server, say--from the Net. Since such data retrievals take only seconds on a T1, Lewis claims a typical hour spent surfing @Hotel will cost only $6 to $10. Lewis says the company plans to have up to 50,000 rooms around the world hooked up to the Net by yearend.